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Chia-Pei Denise Hsu, Joshua D Hutcheson and Sharan Ramaswamy

Forces generated by blood flow are known to contribute to cardiovascular development and remodeling. These hemodynamic forces induce molecular signals that are communicated from the endothelium to various cell types. The cardiovascular system consists of the heart and the vasculature, and together they deliver nutrients throughout the body. While heart valves and blood vessels experience different environmental forces and differ in morphology as well as cell types, they both can undergo pathological remodeling and become susceptible to calcification. In addition, while the plaque morphology is similar in valvular and vascular diseases, therapeutic targets available for the latter condition are not effective in the management of heart valve calcification. Therefore, research in valvular and vascular pathologies and treatments have largely remained independent. Nonetheless, understanding the similarities and differences in development, calcific/fibrous pathologies and healthy remodeling events between the valvular and vascular systems can help us better identify future treatments for both types of tissues, particularly for heart valve pathologies which have been understudied in comparison to arterial diseases.